GUILTY: Driver who attempted to murder four men by driving into them 'like a scene from Grand Theft Auto'
CAUGHT ON CCTV: The moment Aqab Hussain tried to murder four men by driving at them "like a scene from Grand Theft Auto"
A DRIVER who mowed down a group of friends in a hit-and-run crash, leaving a Bolton man with serious head injuries, has been convicted of attempted murder.
A jury of six men and six women at Manchester Crown Court took three-and-a-half hours to unanimously find 21-year-old Aqab Hussain guilty of four counts of attempted murder.
Hussain stood in the dock shaking his head as Judge Robert Atherton remanded him in custody until he can be sentenced later this month.
“It is obvious it will be a prison sentence – a substantial prison sentence,” Judge Atherton told him.
The court heard that Hussain, of Gateshead Close, Rusholme, already has previous convictions for dangerous driving and failing to stop after an accident.
During a four day trial the jury were shown the moment when Hussain tried to kill Mr Ward and his three friends, Paul Hulme, Martin Harris and Thomas Mallanphy.
Captured on CCTV, Hussain’s Corsa could be seen speeding towards the group as they crossed the junction of John Dalton Street and Princess Street in Manchester city centre.
Three of them were mowed down "like skittles" in what was described as being like a scene from the computer game Grand Theft Auto.
The four men were all members of the traveller community and had earlier been involved a row with Hussain and his friends after both groups came out of the Silks lap dancing club in the early hours of August 21 last year.
Street cleaner Luke Bates told the court how he saw an Asian man with a long-sleeved grey top walking within feet of him on Princess Street and then, a minute later, spotted the same top on a driver coming out of Clarence Street, turning right against the one way system and accelerating towards the group of men at the junction.
Hussain made no attempt to swerve or slow down.
Mr Mallanphy managed to jump out of the way and Mr Harris suffered only minor injuries, but Mr Hulme was left with a badly broken leg which needed surgery to insert a metal rod.
Mr Ward, who was partially sighted, was carried on the bonnet of the silver Corsa for several yards as Hussain veered from side to side in an attempt to throw him off.
The court heard he suffered serious head injuries, had to undergo emergency brain surgery and was in intensive care for 20 days.
He has been left seriously disabled, including paralysis on his right side.
Hussain was arrested on October 11 as he arrived back at Manchester airport on a flight from Pakistan, where he had fled four days after the attack.